Updated: Nov 14, 2020
Joe Biden was elected the 46th president of the United States on Saturday morning, days after Election Day.
By Solomon Smith, Political News Editor, and Gabriel Arizon, Editor-in-Chief
After four intense days of ballot counting in battleground states, former Vice President Joe Biden was elected the nation’s next president.
Biden defeated President Donald J. Trump with a total of 279 electoral votes to the incumbent’s 214. He and his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, each made their own significant mark on history with the victory.
This election witnessed Biden winning more votes than any other president in U.S. history and will be the oldest to hold the office, turning 78 later this month. He is the first candidate to beat a presidential incumbent in 28 years, when Bill Clinton defeated George H. W. Bush. This was Biden’s third attempt for the presidency, having tried twice in 1988 and 2008. Biden’s win comes exactly 48 years to the day when he was first elected to the Senate.
“America, I’m honored that you have chosen me to lead our great country,” Biden tweeted. “The work ahead of us will be hard, but I promise you this: I will be a President for all Americans — whether you voted for me or not.”
Harris will be the first woman, first Black person and first South Asian American woman to hold the second highest position in the country. Previously, she was the first Black woman to hold the position of district attorney in California, the first Black woman to be the state Attorney General and the second Black woman to ever be elected senator.
“This election is about so much more than @JoeBiden or me,” tweeted Harris after the win. “It’s about the soul of America and our willingness to fight for it. We have a lot of work ahead of us. Let’s get started.”
For days, Biden and Trump had been fighting it out in key states. The initial numbers on Nov. 3 were better for Biden, but it was still too close to call until mail-in ballots and drop box numbers began to trickle in. Some states, like Florida, went the way pollsters expected — voting in favor of Trump. Other key states were a surprise, however, such as Wisconsin and Michigan going to Biden after the mail-in ballots were counted.
Pennsylvania was a necessary state for any hope of a Trump reelection. The state appeared to initially go in favor of Trump by a large margin, but the ballots continued to come in and the lead was narrowed. For the last few days, the state has been a near tie with Biden holding the slimmest of leads by a few thousand votes. Last night, that changed with Biden widening the gap and Trump falling further behind.
Other states that proved competitive as well, but the 20 electoral votes of Pennsylvania were do or die for Trump. Without those votes, Trump was left with no path forward. Every other state that matters, such as Arizona and Georgia, Biden is either currently in the lead or within a fraction of a point behind Trump and slowly climbing.
The Trump campaign has yet to concede, and is currently suing in almost every battleground state. According to SCOTUS blog, a website that tracks cases in the Supreme Court, 22 cases are in litigation from both parties, with five naming the Trump campaign. The majority of cases are attempts by Trump and his allies to block certain votes from being counted. After a slowdown of the United States Postal Service, which resulted in about 300,000 ballots not being delivered to election offices, Trump has falsely claimed these ballots and any others received after Election Day are invalid.
“If you count the legal votes, I easily win,” Trump said in a Thursday press conference. “If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us.”
Biden and his team have been cautious in their response to the election results and the false claims of the president, but last night he addressed the country.
“We have to remember: the purpose of our politics isn’t total, unrelenting, unending warfare,” Biden said. “No. The purpose of our politics, the work of the nation, isn’t to fan the flames of conflict, but to solve problems, To guarantee justice. To give everybody a fair shot. To improve the lives of our people.”